Rashid Johnson Antoine’s Organ, installation view, Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2016.
Photo : Martin Parsekian, courtesy of the artist & Hauser & Wirth, New York

Rashid Johnson : Plants, Presence, and Care

Giovanni Aloi
When, in the summer of 1936, Edward Steichen’s selectively cross-bred delphiniums were displayed at MoMA in New York, the public wasn’t ready to take them seriously as art. But Steichen’s flowers bore the seeds of an important revolution to come — as they were among the very first living beings on display in an art museum, they posed an unprecedented challenge to the conventional notions of authorship, permanence, and purity. Surprisingly, these delphiniums had nothing to do with the flowers painted on canvas during the Dutch Golden Age. They were truly silent; they had nothing to say about religion. They proudly flaunted their beauty with the confidence of autonomous, living art objects.

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